Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warned in a US television interview on Thursday that if Tehran got a nuclear weapon, his country would follow suit.
“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an excerpt of the interview that aired Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”
The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” show.
In the excerpt, the prince said in Arabic that Iran is “far from being equal to Saudi Arabia,” with its smaller army and economy.
But, he added, Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is like Adolf Hitler “because he wants to expand. He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time.
“Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realize how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East,” he said.
The interview was the first with a Saudi leader for a US network since 2005.
On Sunday, Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu warned against “nuclearizing the Middle East,” saying that the nuclear deal signed by Iran and the international community could, in its current form, lead to a dangerous arms race.
“Many countries in the Middle East say that they too should be allowed to enrich uranium if Iran is allowed to,” Netanyahu said at the opening of his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem detailing his meetings with US officials, including President Donald Trump, during his five day-trip to the US.
In recent months Saudi Arabia has announced its intentions of embarking on a massive program to become “self-sufficient” in producing nuclear fuel. Preliminary plans suggest the Saudis may be looking to build as many as 17 reactors in all.
In his meeting with Netanyahu earlier this month, Trump reportedly refused to commit to halting an emerging deal to sell reactors to Saudi Arabia, telling the prime minister that if the US did not supply the reactors, then the Russians or Chinese would, Channel 10 news said, citing unnamed senior Israeli officials.
Netanyahu and his team reportedly requested that, if the Americans insist on going ahead with building the reactors, Saudi Arabia be prevented from enriching uranium by itself. They demanded that this be a precondition for the entire deal, the report added.